This past week, I cut my hair. And when I say I cut my hair, I don’t mean a trim. I mean I chopped it off. I went from long flowing hair to a short blonde bob. For me, it was a routine summer hair cut, but for someone else, it was a brand new head of hair.
This is the sixth time in my life that I have donated my hair to the company Locks of Love. Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that accepts donated hair at least 10 inches long in order to make wigs for disadvantaged children under 21 suffering from any disease or treatment that results in hair loss. Though the minimum length for donating hair is 10 inches (10 inches results in 8 inches of length after manufacturing making the resulting wig about chin length), I have always donated 12-14 inches of hair, meaning that I have now donated a total of over 6 feet of hair to locks of Love.
When I donated my hair for the first time, I was in fifth grade. I remember it vividly because it happened the day before Math Superbowl, the countywide elementary math competition. Yes, I was a nerd, I did math competitions and I liked it. Since then, I have cut my hair every two years. Because my hair grows back fast, it takes two years for my hair to grow from chin level to all the way down my back.
Through the years since that first donation, I have continued to donate my hair not only because I like short hair, but also because I believe in what Locks of Love does. Locks of Love needs 6-10 donated ponytails to make one wig for one child. Wigs made of real human hair can retail from $3,000-6,000 dollars, which many families cannot afford. Locks of Loves helps children receive wigs to help them regain confidence in their appearance and to provide an anchor of normality as they battle different diseases that result in hair loss.
I am lucky that my hair grows so quickly. I know that when I cut my hair short, it will grow back in almost no time at all. But many children are not so lucky. Children battling cancer or alopecia (an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss) lose their hair when struggling to stay healthy.
When I went in this past week to have my hair cut, a little girl about 9 years old was donating her hair for the first time, and in fact about 80% of hair donated to Locks of Love comes from children. But anyone can donate hair. It’s one way of giving back, and it’s my way of helping children who lack something most of us take for granted.
If you’re interested in donating your hair to Locks of Love, check out their website for donation requirements and details about their organization.